Have We Learned Nothing? and Other Bullets

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Have We Learned Nothing? and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Tonight is Social Media Night at Wrigley Field, which is basically just a big social gathering at Brickhouse next to Wrigley Field before the game, and then a lot of us will be heading over to the game, itself (Michael, Luis, and I, among many others, will be in the bleachers – I’ll push for right field over by the video board, naturally – so come find us!). It should be a lot of fun, and there definitely won’t be a shortage of topics for conversation …

  • Every team, at one time or another, deals with the inevitable interplay between playing a competitive game in front of spectators, and the physical space where those spectators watch and enjoy the game. Every fan base has its story. But when it comes to important, late-game foul balls that could have been caught by a defender but for a fan’s attempt to snag a foul ball, no team gets it in the gut more than the Chicago Cubs. My apologies for the obligatory 2003 NLCS flashbacks. But you – a wise and experienced Cubs fan – long know the drill: if a foul ball comes near in the first couple rows at Wrigley Field, you have to be aware that a Cubs defender is probably bearing down on you, and probably has a better chance to make the catch than you do. And it would be GOOD if they made the catch!
  • So it was last night in the 9th inning when Francisco Cervelli popped one down the first base line just barely into the stands, and a fan, in a surge of understandable and purely reactive eagerness, reached for the ball, almost literally taking it out of Anthony Rizzo’s glove – so much so that Rizzo thought he caught it:

  • Cervelli, of course, would go on to double, and the Pirates tied the game from there with two outs. Had Rizzo been permitted to make what was – for him – a fairly routine catch, the Cubs almost certainly win the game right there in the 9th inning.

  • And just like you’d like to believe fans would have learned by now not to go after foul balls that are easily catchable by Cubs defenders, you’d like to believe the media (and some sects of Cubs fans) would have learned by now not to drag the ghost of Steve Bartman into these situations. I won’t share the stories and tweets and pictures that drew the parallel, because I’d like to believe most Cubs fans are sufficiently shamed by what we were 15 years ago, and how Bartman’s life – his real life – was irrevocably changed because we didn’t have the grace to acknowledge a human’s instinct to react. The fan last night, whoever he was, was spared by Albert Almora, but I hope – regardless of the outcome – he would have been spared by a fan base that should know much better by now. I don’t know who the guy was, and I hope we never know.
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • Thankfully, after Jason Heyward’s homer last night, this is no longer true:

  • … but it’s still true if you just clip out Heyward’s name (or Bryant’s). But then you should add in Terrance Gore’s name, just for fun.
  • Anthony Rizzo is the captain (Cubs.com): “I think every year has its own story, its own different journey. This year, the roller coaster was a little more peaks and valleys than last year and the year before that, and the year before that. It’s not smooth sailing. You figure out ways to win as a team and it’s a good feeling.”
  • This is hilarious and sad:

  • Cool, cool, but when:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.